Living at the edge

 

13/06/2018


In November of 2017, the Edge project was awarded the inaugural Terry Healy Coastal Project Award from the New Zealand Coastal Society. This award is intended to commend a coastal project in New Zealand for its overall commitment to excellence working within the coastal zone. Edge researchers were honoured to receive the award at the New Zealand Coastal Society’s 25thAnnual Conference in Tauranga. This article describes the research activities behind the award that have been ongoing within the Edge project between June 2016 and April 2017.
 

These research activities have included: adapting and applying the Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathways (DAPP) approach in a coastal context in New Zealand through an existing coastal management initiative in Hawke’s Bay; critically reviewing managed retreat as a coastal adaptation option for New Zealand communities; exploring community values, perspectives and attitudes concerning coastal hazards through a survey of the Hawke’s Bay public; advancing knowledge about coastal processes through numerical modelling and field-based studies.

 

Collectively, these research activities have:

1.      Improved knowledge of coastal processes that impact coastal hazards in the region;

2.      Fostered a wider understanding of coastal hazards and risk to develop decision-making tools and practical and resilient pathways;

3.      Demonstrated best practice stakeholder engagement with communities vulnerable to natural coastal hazards.

 

The 10-step Decision Cycle from the MfE Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Guidance for Local Government 2017, and how Edge research activities have contributed to the decision cycle in the Hawke’s Bay context (blue text boxes).

The focus on Hawke’s Bay

 

Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s hotspots for coastal hazards and is facing increasing risk exposure from climate change, and as a result the region was selected as the initial case study location for the Edge research. This provided a unique opportunity to align the Edge research with ongoing development of the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120, a collaborative initiative designed to address management of long-term (100-year) and evolving coastal hazard risk. The Strategy is jointly led by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council and Hastings District Council, together with Māori and local community representatives. The Edge research activities were carried out alongside the Strategy to support its development and can be viewed as contributing to different aspects of the 10-step decision cycle presented in the newly revised Ministry for the Environment (MfE) Coastal Hazards and Climate Change: Guidance for Local Government 2017

 

Contributing to coastal resilience

 

Findings from the Edge research, including the lessons learned about co-creation of resilience research, are currently being written up and will be made available in international scientific journals over the next year. The Edge project is a unique example in New Zealand of researchers becoming embedded in an existing local government decision-making process and this will yield interesting and informative insights that will not only inform best-practice coastal management in New Zealand, but be of relevance to resilience research and initiatives in general. 

 

Tracking Radio-Frequency ID-tagged cobbles on Napier’s foreshore as part of an ongoing sediment transport study.
Some of the Edge research team being awarded the inaugural Terry Healy Coastal Project Award.
A beach gravel deposit in the front yard of an abandoned home in Haumoana, Hawke’s Bay, where coastal erosion is a serious issue.

 

Napier Girls High School students engaging in coastal processes field work at Westshore Beach, Hawke’s Bay, with the help of Edge researchers.
Broken and undermined seawall at Haumoana, Hawke’s Bay after a large swell event in July 2017.

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